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Rio Grande Remnants in Utah 21 – Section House, Thompson [DRGW Photo Archives]

company-house2_01.jpg: looking from the south
company-house2_02.jpg: looking from the east
company-house2_03.jpg: looking from the northwest

This was one of the Rio Grande original structures remained along its route in Utah; the section house at Thompson.

ICC valuation map of by then Thompson’s Station, drawn in 1919 and revised in 1927, shows this structure. According to the map, this, 40’ x 40.5’ one-story wood frame structure, gable roof and walls finished with straight cut singles, is the section house.

Smaller D&RGW bunkhouse at Chama, NM has similar façade: a door and four windows in symmetrical order. It was built in 1881, ten years prior to the depot. D&RGW section house at Sublette, NM also has similar façade. It was built in 1880, two years prior to the depot. Accordingly this section house maybe built prior to the original Thompson depot which was built in 1883.

The book Moab and Grand County barely shows the structure in the photo maybe taken in the 30’s[1]. In the photo, we can see wainscot. Accordingly, straight cut singles on walls we see in the photo must have been the later modification.

icc-map_thompson.jpg: part of ICC valuation map showing the section house, courtesy of Utah State Archives

Section foremen were assigned at Thompson since its establishment. Depot housed the agents, bunkhouse accepted the section hands, and later, signal maintainers had their housing next to the track on the south[2, 3]. Accordingly, this structure must have housed successive section foremen.

Extracted successive section foremen assigned at Thompson are:
John McCartin in 1892[4].
J. U. Coleman(1868 - ), John H. Brady(1849 - ), A. F. Crispin(1856 - ), S. P. Brown(1863 - ) and James Ryan(1856 - ) in 1900[5].
Maurice Sullivan Sr. in 1908[6].

Antonio Cianio(1878 - ), Peter Colombas(1892 - ), Luciano Cesario(1894 - ) and Joe R. Dimas(1897 - ) in 1920[7]. Luciano was also placed here in 1930[8].

Geo Saker in 1933[9].
James M. Noblitt(1892 – 1967) at least from 1940 to 1958[10, 11]. However, whether he was assigned at Thompson or Cisco is uncertain: 1940 Census lists four names including James as section foremen at Cisco[10].

Ted Miller at least from 1964[12]. Ted retired from the railroad in 1977[13]. He seems the last occupant of this house.

Unfortunately, the structure was demolished together with the depot in 2016. To leave something on record, I decided to draw plans of the structure. The result is shown below.

All photos taken on Sep. 11, 2014.

[1] Schenck, Travis (2013) Moab and Grand County, Arcadia Publishing
[2] Jul. 13, 1960 Times Independent;
[3] Dec. 10, 1964 Times Independent;
[4] Mar. 9, 1893 Provo Daily Enquirer;
[5] 1900 Census;
[6] Mar. 28, 1908 Emery County Progress;
[7] 1920 Census;
[8] 1930 Census;
[9] Feb. 2, 1933 Times Independent;
[10] 1940 Census;
[11] Apr. 13, 1967 Times Independent;
[12] Dec. 24, 1964 Times Independent;
[13] Mar. 2, 1977 Times Independent;

section-house_drawing.jpg: south, east, north and west elevations

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Old Townsite Plat Chase, Part 3 [Column_Town of Cisco]

negishi-housing.jpg: Nov. 17, 1993. Sky Line Drive and Negishi Avenue, Yokohama, Japan

Here, I'm representing the joy and value of chasing old plats.

Here is another sample of plat/field unconformity. The Google Map Satellite shown below represents housings of U.S. Navy Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Yokohama Detachment, Negishi Dependent Housing Area at the village of Tsukagoshi in Yokohama, Japan. The second drawing shown below is the plat of the same area. Here, the field and the plat are quite unconformable: even the layered map shown below may not convince you.

Actually, the plat proves the village of Tsukagoshi before 1947. The area was requisitioned from the Allied Forces for X Housing Area on Oct. 16, 1947. Before that, the area grew vegetables: July 24, 1947 aerial photo shown below represents the village of Tsukagoshi at that time. As you can see, the field at that time and the plat are consistent.

Accordingly, the village of Tsukagoshi retains accurate register. However, it lacks neither undisturbed field nor continuous history. Without these, I think it’s difficult to re-establish the spacetime of this vanished village.

yokohama_satelite.jpg: Google Map Satellite view
      yokohama_plat.jpg: plat of Tsukagoshi, Yokohama
yokohama_plat+satelite.jpg: layered map of the area
yokohama_aerial_1947.jpg: 1947 aerial photo concerned area shown in red dotted line. Courtesy, Geospatial Information Authority of Japan

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Old Townsite Plat Chase, Part 2 [Column_Town of Cisco]

: Main Street, Castleton, Utah

Here, I'm representing the joy and value of chasing old plats.

About thirteen miles south of Cisco at upper Castle Valley, nestles a ghost town of Castleton. The town was first settled in late 1870s or early 1880s, and once boasted businesses like Miller’s Hotel and “Plug Hat” kelly’s Saloon[1]. Post office was established in 1882 and the stage line from Cisco carried daily mail[1]. Even the twenty miles Grand River, Castleton & La Sal Mountain Railroad connecting the vicinity and the Colorado River was established in 1901, but never realized[2].

The town filed the townsite in 1901[3]. However, in 1967, the Grand County vacated the original townsite. Today, it’s hard to imagine the golden age of the town: few lots from that time survive and even the only street slipped off the original plat.

Streets, blocks and lots are gone at Castleton, but the plat retains a few historic names as the landowners. Peter Doles who rests at the private cemetery shown in the plat is the son of Jerry P. and Alice Doles who moved to the town from Arizona in 1956[2]. Susan P. Johnston seems the relative of Alva Johnston who moved from Norwood, Colorado in 1949[4].

Accordingly, the town of Castleton retains accurate register and undisturbed field. With more continuous historical clues, we will be able to re-establish the spacetime of this ghost town.

[1] Firmage, Richard A., (1996) A History of Grand County, Utah State Historical Society
[2] Feb. 2, 1901 Salt Lake Tribune;
[3, 4] Salmon, Rusty, (2004) “Castleton: Turn-of-the-Century Boom Town”, Volume 52, Canyon Legacy, Dan O’Laurie Canyon County Museum
* Index of Grand County Plat (Castleton Townsite at file 04-0023.pdf);

castleton_satelite.jpg: Google Map Satellite view
  castleton_plat.jpg: plat of Castleton Townsite


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Old Townsite Plat Chase, Part 1 [Column_Town of Cisco]

: Colorado Street, Cisco, Utah

View above shows the Colorado Street at Cisco, Utah. How did I come to know the name of such an unbeaten path? The answer is the plat: the Cisco Townsite filed in 1910 survives well into the 21st Century. Here, I represent the joy and value of chasing old plats.

The plat of Cisco Townsite boasts forty-one blocks and fourteen named streets. Streets running north-south on the east side of Main St. are Utah, Colorado and Pennsylvania; on the west side are Lincoln, Sherman and Grant. Old US Hwy 50&6 along the Rio Grande is, of course, the Railroad Street. Cisco Pump House Road shown in Google Maps running east-west is correctly the Second Street.

However, the plat and field of Cisco Townsite today seem unconformable at a glance as you see in Google Map Satellite view shown below. Is the old plat worthless for us today? No; for example, the landowners’ names in the plat are still worthy of note.

The plat has sixteen private landowners’ names. Among them, we can find the historic name, Robert T. Capansky. I already mentioned about him in my Capansky’s Bar, Restaurant and Phillips 66 Gas Station post.

Some other related names are also found. William G. Fuller is a son of historic postmistress Hattie M. Fuller. Jay A. Williams seems the relative of the historic resident John Maynard. Thus, the plat mediates between the field and the history of Cisco.

In conclusion, we can re-establish the spacetime of this ghost town from chasing after the old townsite plat, thanks to accurate register, undisturbed field and continuous history of Cisco.

* Index of Grand County Plat (file 04-0023.pdf has Cisco Townsite);

cisco_satelite.jpg: Google Map Satellite view
 cisco-plat_2016.jpg: plat of Cisco Townsite

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Cisco Post Office [Works_Town of Cisco]

post-office_model_02.jpg: looking from southeast
post-office_model_01.jpg: looking from northwest
post office _drawing.jpg: south and east elevation

I’m trying to duplicate the whole town of Cisco, Utah in N scale. Here, I represent the making of Cisco Post Office.

There still exists the Post Office structure with roof and walls sheathed with sheet metal. As I mentioned in the previous post, this structure was installed no later than 1969. I measured and drew plans. The result is shown above.

As you can see in the prototype photos, the structure is consisted of steel shack, wood façade, deck and the lean-to. Accordingly, I used styrene sheets and wood for the model. The shack is made of 1.2mm thick styrene sheet, sheathed with 0.1mm thick styrene sheet. Others are made of wood. Shack and façade are painted white, with light weathering overall. Letterings are of self-made decals.

post-office_model_00.jpg: model parts ready to assemble
post-office_model_03.jpg: looking from the south

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You’ve Got a Mail – Postal Service at Cisco [Column_Town of Cisco]

post-office_03.jpg: Cisco, UT Sep. 11, 2014

Town of Cisco never had frills like hospital, town hall, fire station, jail, church, library, bank, park nor cemetery. The town became a minimum community in the 60’s after it lost water line. However, the town still kept some facilities for community service; nothing added, nothing subtracted from its heyday.

Until May 1966, Railway Post Office added to D&RGW Prospector consist served the region west from Grand Junction as far as Salt Lake City: all the RPO service contract at D&RGW was diverted to other modes on April 1, 1967[1, 2]. According to the ICC valuation map, the mail crane at Cisco stood next to the depot on the west. After the discontinuance, trucks and air taxi based at Moab succeeded the contract at Cisco.

The original Cisco post office next to the narrow gauge railroad watering station was granted in 1887[3]. It was moved along with the depot in 1890. The log cabin called Federal Building, consisted of post office and postmaster’s dwelling, was located next to the Cisco Mercantile/Motel on the west side, facing the railroad track. In 1923, the Building was repainted dark red with white trimming[4]. Zip Code 84515 was assigned in 1963. However, the original post office structure was demolished in 1967[5, 6].

The second post office structure shown above at Second Street seems re-installed immediately, no later than 1969, according to USGS aerial photo. However, the remaining days of the office under United States Postal Service administration was limited: the structure itself is living on borrowed time[7].

letter_postmarked,cisco.jpg: Cisco postmark

John Martin(1854 – 1918), a surveyor for the railroad, was the original postmaster[3]. According to the U.S., Appointments of U.S. Postmasters 1832 - 1971, Richard C. Camp was the postmaster since 1889, John H. Miller since 1890, Pardon H. Jeffers since 1895, Alfred B. Bush since 1898, Horace J. Cooper since 1899, Robert A. Greene since 1900, Henry T. Matthews since 1901, Oakley M. Bailey since 1903, Sherman Bowen since 1905, Charles A. Pierson since 1907, Charles R. Cahill since 1907, Nathan E. Reynolds since Jan. 1908, Albert Lewis Hanson(1881 – 1977) since Jul. 1908 and James J. Rounds since 1910. James was also the Rio Grande station agent[8]. After that, Willis D. Ely was the postmaster since 1915.

Henry Hansen(1860 – 1932) had been appointed to the postmaster since 1919 and for more than a decade into the 30’s[9, 10]. Luciel Quiett acted for Henry in Jan. 1933.

Hattie M. Fuller(1888 – 1969) was the postmistress from Feb. 1933 and well into the 50’s. In 1958, Albert R. Myers succeeded Fuller.

Wava Frances Harris(1917 – 1969), spouse of the highway foreman Ballard Harris, had been appointed to the postmistress since 1959 and was on duty for eight years[3]. Upon retirement of Wava and the original post office structure, Wava and Ballard moved the postal cabinet made of oak to Dewey and displayed in their gas service station for next forty years. Today, the cabinet is at Coleman House B&B in Harrodsburg, Kentucky[6]. Photo of Ballard with the displayed cabinet is found on web[11].

Beulah Rose Campbell(1907 – 1971) was taking care of the re-installed post office in 1969[12]. Ray Scott of the Cisco Automotive Service was the postmaster in the early 70’s[13].

Paula Dee Raney(1947 – 2010) was the postmistress in the early 90’s[14]. Sharon F. Dalgleish was the postmistress maybe since 1992[15]. Sharon finally closed the post office no later than in 2010.

post-office_02.jpg: Cisco, UT Sep. 11, 2014

In 2003, Wim Wenders, the Paris, Texas movie director, took the photo of the post office during the location at Cisco for his movie Don’t Come Knocking[16]. Movie below shows the interior of the post office in 2009. The full eagle logo of United States Postal Service, used between 1970 and 1993, barely shows what this shack was today. Letters barely read on the façade are;

EL4370  84515

[1] Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad Company, Annual Report 1967
[2] Strack, Don “D&RGW Prospector and Royal Gorge”, UTAHRAILS.NET;
[3] Weis, Norman D. Helldorados, Ghosts and Camps of the old Southwest, Caxton Printers, 1977
[4] May 24, 1923 Times Independent;
[5] Mar. 6, 1969 Times Independent;
[6] Coleman House B&B web page;
[7] May 6, 1971 Times Independent;
[8] May 16, 1913 Grand Valley Times;
[9] Feb. 14, 1919 Times Independent;
[10] Dec. 8, 1932 Times Independent;
[11] Repko, Sue (2002) “H. Ballard Harris”;
[12] Dec. 11, 1969 Times Independent;
[13] Apr. 1, 1976 Times Independent;
[14] Jun. 30, 2010 The Daily Sentinel;
[15] Jackson, Jen “The Madness and Memories of Cisco, Utah”, Sep. 2010, Inside Outside Southwest Magazine;
[16] Wenders, Wim (2003) “Cisco Post office”;

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